FtsA reshapes membrane architecture and remodels the Z-ring in Escherichia coli.
ABSTRACT: Cell division in prokaryotes initiates with assembly of the Z-ring at midcell, which, in Escherichia coli, is tethered to the inner leaflet of the cytoplasmic membrane through a direct interaction with FtsA, a widely conserved actin homolog. The Z-ring is comprised of polymers of tubulin-like FtsZ and has been suggested to provide the force for constriction. Here, we demonstrate that FtsA exerts force on membranes causing redistribution of membrane architecture, robustly hydrolyzes ATP and directly engages FtsZ polymers in a reconstituted system. Phospholipid reorganization by FtsA occurs rapidly and is mediated by insertion of a C-terminal membrane targeting sequence (MTS) into the bilayer and further promoted by a nucleotide-dependent conformational change relayed to the MTS. FtsA also recruits FtsZ to phospholipid vesicles via a direct interaction with the FtsZ C-terminus and regulates FtsZ assembly kinetics. These results implicate the actin homolog FtsA in establishment of a Z-ring scaffold, while directly remodeling the membrane and provide mechanistic insight into localized cell wall remodeling, invagination and constriction at the onset of division.
Project description:Cytokinesis in bacteria depends upon the contractile Z ring, which is composed of dynamic polymers of the tubulin homolog FtsZ as well as other membrane-associated proteins such as FtsA, a homolog of actin that is required for membrane attachment of the Z ring and its subsequent constriction. Here we show that a previously characterized hypermorphic mutant FtsA (FtsA*) partially disassembled FtsZ polymers in vitro. This effect was strictly dependent on ATP or ADP binding to FtsA* and occurred at substoichiometric levels relative to FtsZ, similar to cellular levels. Nucleotide-bound FtsA* did not affect FtsZ GTPase activity or the critical concentration for FtsZ assembly but was able to disassemble preformed FtsZ polymers, suggesting that FtsA* acts on FtsZ polymers. Microscopic examination of the inhibited FtsZ polymers revealed a transition from long, straight polymers and polymer bundles to mainly short, curved protofilaments. These results indicate that a bacterial actin, when activated by adenine nucleotides, can modify the length distribution of bacterial tubulin polymers, analogous to the effects of actin-depolymerizing factor/cofilin on F-actin.
Project description:We previously reconstituted Z rings in tubular multilamellar liposomes with FtsZ-YFP-mts, where mts is a membrane-targeting amphiphilic helix. These reconstituted Z rings generated a constriction force but did not divide the thick-walled liposomes. Here we developed a unique system to observe Z rings in unilamellar liposomes. FtsZ-YFP-mts incorporated inside large, unilamellar liposomes formed patches that produced concave distortions when viewed at the equator of the liposome. When viewed en face at the top of the liposome, many of the patches were seen to be small Z rings, which still maintained the concave depressions. We also succeeded in reconstituting the more natural, two-protein system, with FtsA and FtsZ-YFP (having the FtsA-binding peptide instead of the mts). Unilamellar liposomes incorporating FtsA and FtsZ-YFP showed a variety of distributions, including foci and linear arrays. A small fraction of liposomes had obvious Z rings. These Z rings could constrict the liposomes and in some cases appeared to complete the division, leaving a clear septum between the two daughter liposomes. Because complete liposome divisions were not seen with FtsZ-mts, FtsA may be critical for the final membrane scission event. We demonstrate that reconstituted cell division machinery apparently divides the liposome in vitro.
Project description:The bacterial actin homologue FtsA has a conserved C-terminal membrane targeting sequence (MTS). Deletion or point mutations in the MTS, such as W408E, were shown previously to inactivate FtsA function and inhibit cell division. Because FtsA binds to the tubulin-like FtsZ protein that forms the Z ring, it is thought that the MTS of FtsA is required, along with the transmembrane protein ZipA, to assemble the Z ring and anchor it to the cytoplasmic membrane. Here, we show that despite its reduced membrane binding, FtsA-W408E could localize to the Z ring and recruit the late cell division protein FtsI, but was defective in self-interaction and recruitment of FtsN, another late cell division protein. These defects could be suppressed by a mutation that stimulates membrane association of FtsA-W408E, or by expressing a tandem FtsA-W408E. Remarkably, the FtsA MTS could be completely replaced with the transmembrane domain of MalF and remain functional for cell division. We propose that FtsA function in cell division depends on additive effects of membrane binding and self-interaction, and that the specific requirement of an amphipathic helix for tethering FtsA to the membrane can be bypassed.
Project description:Assembly of the cell division apparatus in bacteria starts with formation of the Z ring on the cytoplasmic face of the membrane. This process involves the accumulation of FtsZ polymers at midcell and their interaction with several FtsZ-binding proteins that collectively organize the polymers into a membrane-associated ring-like configuration. Three such proteins, FtsA, ZipA, and ZapA, have previously been identified in Escherichia coli. FtsA and ZipA are essential membrane-associated division proteins that help connect FtsZ polymers with the inner membrane. ZapA is a cytoplasmic protein that is not required for the fission process per se but contributes to its efficiency, likely by promoting lateral interactions between FtsZ protofilaments. We report the identification of YcbW (ZapC) as a fourth FtsZ-binding component of the Z ring in E. coli. Binding of ZapC promotes lateral interactions between FtsZ polymers and suppresses FtsZ GTPase activity. This and additional evidence indicate that, like ZapA, ZapC is a nonessential Z-ring component that contributes to the efficiency of the division process by stabilizing the polymeric form of FtsZ.
Project description:A key step in bacterial cell division is the polymerization of the tubulin homolog FtsZ at midcell. FtsZ polymers are anchored to the cell membrane by FtsA and are required for the assembly of all other cell division proteins. In Gram-positive and cyanobacteria, FtsZ filaments are aligned by the protein SepF, which in vitro polymerizes into large rings that bundle FtsZ filaments. Here we describe the crystal structure of the only globular domain of SepF, located within the C-terminal region. Two-hybrid data revealed that this domain comprises the FtsZ binding site, and EM analyses showed that it is sufficient for ring formation, which is explained by the filaments in the crystals of SepF. Site-directed mutagenesis, gel filtration, and analytical ultracentrifugation indicated that dimers form the basic units of SepF filaments. High-resolution structured illumination microscopy suggested that SepF is membrane associated, and it turned out that purified SepF not only binds to lipid membranes, but also recruits FtsZ. Further genetic and biochemical analyses showed that an amphipathic helix at the N terminus functions as the membrane-binding domain, making SepF a unique membrane anchor for the FtsZ ring. This clarifies why Bacillus subtilis grows without FtsA or the putative membrane anchor EzrA and why bacteria lacking FtsA contain SepF homologs. Both FtsA and SepF use an amphipathic helix for membrane binding. These helices prefer positively curved membranes due to relaxed lipid density; therefore this type of membrane anchor may assist in keeping the Z ring positioned at the strongly curved leading edge of the developing septum.
Project description:Bacteria such as Escherichia coli divide by organizing filaments of FtsZ, a tubulin homolog that assembles into dynamic treadmilling membrane-associated protein filaments at the cell midpoint. FtsA and ZipA proteins are required to tether these filaments to the inner face of the cytoplasmic membrane, and loss of either tether is lethal. ZipA from E. coli and other closely related species harbors a long linker region that connects the essential N-terminal transmembrane domain to the C-terminal globular FtsZ-binding domain, and part of this linker includes a P/Q-rich peptide that is predicted to be intrinsically disordered. We found unexpectedly that several large deletions of the ZipA linker region, including the entire P/Q rich peptide, had no effect on cell division under normal conditions. However, we found that the loss of the P/Q region made cells more resistant to excess levels of FtsA and more sensitive to conditions that displaced FtsA from FtsZ. FtsA also harbors a short ?20-residue peptide linker that connects the main globular domain with the C-terminal amphipathic helix that is important for membrane binding. In analogy with ZipA, deletion of 11 of the central residues in the FtsA linker had little effect on FtsA function in cell division.IMPORTANCE Escherichia coli cells divide using a cytokinetic ring composed of polymers of the tubulin-like FtsZ. To function properly, these polymers must attach to the inner surface of the cytoplasmic membrane via two essential membrane-associated tethers, FtsA and ZipA. Both FtsA and ZipA contain peptide linkers that connect their membrane-binding domains with their FtsZ-binding domains. Although they are presumed to be crucial for cell division activity, the importance of these linkers has not yet been rigorously tested. Here, we show that large segments of these linkers can be removed with few consequences for cell division, although several subtle defects were uncovered. Our results suggest that ZipA, in particular, can function in cell division without an extended linker.
Project description:Membrane constriction is a prerequisite for cell division. The most common membrane constriction system in prokaryotes is based on the tubulin homologue FtsZ, whose filaments in E. coli are anchored to the membrane by FtsA and enable the formation of the Z-ring and divisome. The precise architecture of the FtsZ ring has remained enigmatic. In this study, we report three-dimensional arrangements of FtsZ and FtsA filaments in C. crescentus and E. coli cells and inside constricting liposomes by means of electron cryomicroscopy and cryotomography. In vivo and in vitro, the Z-ring is composed of a small, single-layered band of filaments parallel to the membrane, creating a continuous ring through lateral filament contacts. Visualisation of the in vitro reconstituted constrictions as well as a complete tracing of the helical paths of the filaments with a molecular model favour a mechanism of FtsZ-based membrane constriction that is likely to be accompanied by filament sliding.
Project description:The initiation of <i>Escherichia coli</i> cell division requires three proteins, FtsZ, FtsA, and ZipA, which assemble in a dynamic ring-like structure at midcell. Along with the transmembrane protein ZipA, the actin-like FtsA helps to tether treadmilling polymers of tubulin-like FtsZ to the membrane. In addition to forming homo-oligomers, FtsA and ZipA interact directly with the C-terminal conserved domain of FtsZ. Gain-of-function mutants of FtsA are deficient in forming oligomers and can bypass the need for ZipA, suggesting that ZipA may normally function to disrupt FtsA oligomers, although no direct interaction between FtsA and ZipA has been reported. Here, we use <i>in vivo</i> cross-linking to show that FtsA and ZipA indeed interact directly. We identify the exposed surface of FtsA helix 7, which also participates in binding to ATP through its internal surface, as a key interface needed for the interaction with ZipA. This interaction suggests that FtsZ's membrane tethers may regulate each other's activities.<b>IMPORTANCE</b> To divide, most bacteria first construct a protein machine at the plane of division and then recruit the machinery that will synthesize the division septum. In <i>Escherichia coli</i>, this first stage involves the assembly of FtsZ polymers at midcell, which directly bind to membrane-associated proteins FtsA and ZipA to form a discontinuous ring structure. Although FtsZ directly binds both FtsA and ZipA, it is unclear why FtsZ requires two separate membrane tethers. Here, we uncover a new direct interaction between the tethers, which involves a helix within FtsA that is adjacent to its ATP binding pocket. Our findings imply that in addition to their known roles as FtsZ membrane anchors, FtsA and ZipA may regulate each other's structure and function.
Project description:The Min system, consisting of MinC, MinD, and MinE, plays an important role in localizing the Escherichia coli cell division machinery to midcell by preventing FtsZ ring (Z ring) formation at cell poles. MinC has two domains, MinCn and MinCc, which both bind to FtsZ and act synergistically to inhibit FtsZ polymerization. Binary fission of E. coli usually proceeds symmetrically, with daughter cells at roughly 180° to each other. In contrast, we discovered that overproduction of an artificial MinCc-MinD fusion protein in the absence of other Min proteins induced frequent and dramatic jackknife-like bending of cells at division septa, with cell constriction predominantly on the outside of the bend. Mutations in the fusion known to disrupt MinCc-FtsZ, MinCc-MinD, or MinD-membrane interactions largely suppressed bending division. Imaging of FtsZ-green fluorescent protein (GFP) showed no obvious asymmetric localization of FtsZ during MinCc-MinD overproduction, suggesting that a downstream activity of the Z ring was inhibited asymmetrically. Consistent with this, MinCc-MinD fusions localized predominantly to segments of the Z ring at the inside of developing cell bends, while FtsA (but not ZipA) tended to localize to the outside. As FtsA is required for ring constriction, we propose that this asymmetric localization pattern blocks constriction of the inside of the septal ring while permitting continued constriction of the outside portion.
Project description:Bacterial cytokinesis is commonly initiated by the Z-ring, a cytoskeletal structure that assembles at the site of division. Its primary component is FtsZ, a tubulin superfamily GTPase, which is recruited to the membrane by the actin-related protein FtsA. Both proteins are required for the formation of the Z-ring, but if and how they influence each other's assembly dynamics is not known. Here, we reconstituted FtsA-dependent recruitment of FtsZ polymers to supported membranes, where both proteins self-organize into complex patterns, such as fast-moving filament bundles and chirally rotating rings. Using fluorescence microscopy and biochemical perturbations, we found that these large-scale rearrangements of FtsZ emerge from its polymerization dynamics and a dual, antagonistic role of FtsA: recruitment of FtsZ filaments to the membrane and negative regulation of FtsZ organization. Our findings provide a model for the initial steps of bacterial cell division and illustrate how dynamic polymers can self-organize into large-scale structures.